Maha Shirah, Founder of SheWorks Riyadh
Having been male-centric for much of Saudi Arabia’s recent history, the Kingdom’s workspaces are increasingly opening up to more female workers in recent years. In fact, female empowerment is among the nation’s key goals in diversifying its economy, which is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Recent estimates have put the total number of female workers at between 16.8% and 22%, as Saudi Arabia expects it to go up to 30% by the end of the decade.
This is where SheWorks comes in, a co-working space similar to how others like WeWork operate, except only female staff can be found here and, with no men in sight, leaving its clients comfortable to be themselves and work to their full potential. In some Saudi workplaces, men and women often work separately in accordance with Islamic teachings, a basis that SheWorks operates around.
SheWorks is a brainchild of Maha Shirah, a fellow member at the Businesses Women Committee in Riyadh Chamber, and the Saudi Coordination Council for Women's Labor. In 2014, she founded SheWorks as a means to help empower Saudi women in the workforce while giving them their own space. In fact, the idea came about from her own personal experience in banking and hospital administration where, more often than not, she'd notice some women feeling rather uncomfortable talking to male strangers.
So how does SheWorks work? Essentially, the establishment rents out desks and office spaces to female-only businesses on a monthly basis. A meeting room is also available with its very own entrance for male attendees. In addition, SheWorks can also offer business consultation and governmental services to clients. All facilities are complete with work essentials such as WiFi connection, air-conditioning, printers and scanners, and, most importantly, free coffee!
SheWorks is located at Ath Thumamah Road, Riyadh, with listings available via websites such as coworker.com/saudi-arabia/riyadh/sheworks.